When I read Los Angeles Times staff reporter Stephanie Simon’s report this morning on the continuing fight in the states against embryonic stem cell research (even in states which have passed initiatives to support such research), my jaw nearly dropped when I read these lines:

Embryonic stem cell research typically begins with cloning. Scientists insert the genetic material from an adult human cell into a human egg that’s been emptied of its own DNA. The cloned cell is then nurtured in the lab for several days, until it grows into a blastocyst, a microscopic clump of cells that could theoretically develop into a fetus if attached to a uterine wall.

As I reread the article, I noticed this rather peculiar correction:

FOR THE RECORD:

Stem cell research: An article in Wednesday’s section A on embryonic stem cell research incorrectly stated that such research typically begins with cloning. The cloning method is under investigation, but researchers generally obtain stem cells by extracting them from embryos produced during in-vitro fertilization.

First of all, it is rather strange to see cloning so plainly put in relation to embryonic stem cell research in a paper like the L.A. Times, even though there is a very real and present connection. While I’m not sure of the the exact ratio of embryonic stem cells obtained from embryos produced during in-vitro fertilization to embryos produced by cloning, it’s clear by the very legislation passed in states like Missouri that cloning is needed for ESCR to have even a chance of success.

Whether or not Ms. Simon was in error, I don’t know, but it’s refreshing to see a reporter even acknowledge that a connection exists.